Friday, September 6, 2013

Money Scams – Everyone wants your Money!

There are a lot of scams out there. People use them to separate you from your goods and money. One of the latest in the San Francisco Bay Area is the “Snake Scam.” This is where a nice looking lady in an Animal Control uniform appears at your door and tells you that there is a snake infestation in the neighborhood. She needs to show all the members of the household where she will set the traps. Once the lady has you in your backyard, her associate is pillaging your home for cash and jewels. They can also present themselves as a gas & electric worker or a cable TV installer. Ask for ID from anyone attempting to enter your home to perform services. If you are suspicious, call the company and check on them before allowing them in. If they are scamming you, they will run away.

Another popular scam used on older people is the “Lottery Ticket Scam.” Two people approach the “Mark” and one will say he has the winning lottery ticket. He will have a ticket with the winning numbers purchased on the date of the lotto drawing. However, the time is after the drawing, but the victim does not usually see that. The scam is that the person with the ticket is an undocumented alien and cannot cash the ticket and needs a citizen to cash it for him. The victim is asked to put up thousands in “good faith” money in cash. Yes, eventually the bad guys disappear with the good faith money and the Mark, our victim, is left holding a worthless lottery ticket.

Let’s not be victims. Let’s do some things that will protect us. Sometimes, little things make a big impact.

1. On all debit and credit cards, take a permanent marking pen and write, “Ask for ID” in the signature portion on the back of all your cards. Don’t sign it. You are only giving the bad guys an example of your signature to copy and forge. The idea is when a thief is buying a big ticket item he gets stopped when asked to present ID. Per Visa, a merchant may ask you to sign the card, but cannot refuse your transaction if you produce valid government identification such as a Driver’s License or State ID Card.

2. Utilize a good firewall and antivirus program to protect your computer and any data from hackers and spammers. A good firewall makes your computer anonymous to the internet, meaning your computer and your transactions cannot be seen by hackers. Good internet security software might cost as much as $60. Never download or click on links from someone you do not know. What is your peace of mind worth today?

3. Consider electronic banking and bill pay to avoid ID Theft. -Paying your bills with a check provides a thief with your name, address, bank routing number and your account number, as well as an example of your signature. Online Bill Payments are electronic and leave nothing like that to be used against you. Plus they save on the cost of checks and postage.

Utilize e-statements instead of a paper statement mailed to your mailbox. It’s easy for thieves to access your mailbox during the middle of the day. E-statements provide access to your account transactions and details quicker and are more secure. Not to mention they save on paper and postage, so you’re helping the environment. And if you need a copy, you can download and save your statements or print them from your home computer.

Consider “Alerts” with online banking. Setting up alerts can provide you with information on what’s happening to your accounts at any time, including transfers, withdrawals and deposits.

4. If you don’t want to use online banking, don't mail your bills by sticking them in your mailbox to be picked up by the postman. Thieves patrol streets on the 3rd thru the 5th of the month and after the 15th to fish for money in bill payment envelopes. Mail your bills in a U.S. Postal mail box or at the post office only!

5. Shred old banking documents you no longer need. It keeps your personal data away from thieves. If you don’t have a shredder, I would bet your local credit union branch will help you by taking a small stack of documents and adding them to their secure shredding. Also, many office supply stores offer secure shredding at low prices.

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Free Financial and Business Workshops presented at Meriwest Credit Union

Writing an Effective Business Plan and Access to Business Capital
  • Write a business plan that gets noticed!
  • Gain an understanding how lenders view business loan applications

Sept. 12th – 6 PM
Meriwest Credit Union Main Office
5615 Chesbro Ave
San Jose CA 951123
Please RSVP with Dan Golding at or 408-632-4180

Real World Budgets for Young Adults
  • For Teens and College Students: Learn about money while building your post college budget!
  • Start managing your money today!

Sept. 18th – 6:30 PM
Meriwest Credit Union Main Office
5615 Chesbro Ave
San Jose CA 951123
Please RSVP with Greg Meyer at or 408-365-6328
Credit Myth and Repair
  • Learn the Top Ten Myths of credit that are not necessarily true!
  • Learn how to correct errors on your credit report.

Sept. 25th – 6:30 PM
Meriwest Credit Union Main Office
5615 Chesbro Ave
San Jose CA 951123
Please RSVP with Greg Meyer at or 408-365-6328

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